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How to Raise Healthy Kids Healthy Lifestyle
There are so many obstacles to having healthy kids in our society today. Everything from what they eat to what they do with their spare time can contribute to weight gain and unhealthy bodies. We want our children to be healthy, we just need help figuring out what the potholes are that we should be looking for.
Our standard American diet is known in health food circles as the SAD diet. There are quite a few ingredients in processed foods that are supposed to be good for us but, in fact, are not. For example, that whole wheat bread you’ve bought your family most likely has high fructose corn syrup in it. The fruit snacks that look healthy, (they’re fruit, right?) almost certainly have food dyes in them. The peanut butter, a good source of protein and a favorite for lunchboxes because it won’t spoil, will most likely have partially hydrogenated oils in it. All of these ingredients are known to cause health problems and should be carefully avoided.
How do you avoid them, you ask. It may seem difficult and time consuming at first, but the careful consumer will read the labels for these three high-risk ingredients. There are some enlightened manufacturers who are changing their ingredients for the better.
The good news is, as more parents become aware of and avoid these high-risk ingredients, more healthy alternatives will become available. There are already companies who make fruit snacks using minute amounts of vegetable juice to add color instead of artificially manufactured food coloring. (Which is often made from petroleum.)
There is peanut butter available without partially-hydrogenated oil, you’ll just have to hunt for it a bit. The bread is harder, even fresh made deli whole wheat bread often has high-fructose corn syrup in it. Often, health food stores are the only place to get a truly healthy loaf of bread.
Our children’s hobbies also put them at risk. Watching television and playing video games, even for an hour each evening robs them of the opportunity to interact socially with others. It also keeps them sitting still instead of running, jumping and playing in the fresh air, which is, by the way, healthier than indoor air. Instead of riding their bikes up to the park to play a game of basketball with their friends, they are pushing buttons while a computer animated basketball goes through a hoop.
It is so much better for them to develop hand eye coordination by actually playing real basketball with a real hoop. Even if you don’t have one of those portable basketball hoops in your driveway, there is probably one at a local school or playground.
Fine motor skills can be developed by having them help you snap the fresh green beans you picked up for dinner. No beans? Have them wash the silverware for you after dinner tonight. Anything you can think of that they will use their fingers to do will help them develop these fine motor skills. They do not need a video game to teach them this or any other skill.
Changing our lives entirely at one time seems quite overwhelming and is, in reality, unnecessary. Once you are aware of the pitfalls to children’s health, you can take steps to work in the right direction.
If your child is used to playing video games or watching television every evening, send them outside to play for 15 minutes first. After a month or so, make it 30 minutes, then 45. At the same time, read labels as you do your grocery shopping. Set a goal to find one new item each trip that is a healthier option that your regular brand. These small adjustments will go a long way to investing in your child’s health.
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